CES 2010: Welcome to the world's largest man cave

I was in Las Vegas for the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show to speak as a marketing-to-women expert and look for what I'll call "SHElectronics"—products that were developed for, created with or are marketed to women.

I was in Las Vegas for the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show to speak as a marketing-to-women expert and look for what I'll call “SHElectronics”—products that were developed for, created with or are marketed to women. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, women influence the purchase of more than 90% of consumer electronics. And, according to a recent study by NPD Group, women account for 40 percent of consumer-electronics spending. With those powerful marketplace stats in mind, it shouldn't be tough to find at least a commensurate amount of attention paid to the female marketplace at CES, right?

Wrong.

While CES may be guy heaven, it's not marketing-to-women nirvana. As I walked the show floor with some very smart marketers, including a competitive intelligence expert, I was struck, as was the group, by a focus on women so slim that it rivaled the slimmest of TVs on display.

“I was trying to look for companies and products seeking to take advantage of good marketing to women,” noted Marti Barletta, author of Marketing to Women. “But I could not find much. Even the big CE players don't recognize women as the major buyers they are.”

TVs so slim they looked more like picture frames, 3-D/ultra HD and environmental interests were pervasive themes throughout the show. Regardless of product or theme, a focus on creating and marketing products with women in mind was nearly absent.

Several companies did shine some light on women consumers in the man cave. Kodak's K-Zone featured a series of marketing-to-women and mom-focused panel presentations, streamed live to the internet so a broader audience could engage (Disclosure: Kodak is a Ketchum client). Kodak's approach to CES is very consistent with its focus on moms as the “chief memory officer.”

Samsung showed items like multi-product apps, which will work on your laptop, mobile phone, and TV – a great idea that is sure to be appreciated by busy women. A smaller company, Entourage, showed an interesting product called the Edge – a combo e-reader and tablet PC. Excellent idea for multi-tasking women. While I can't say if these products were developed with women in mind, huge opportunities are being missed to market with women and moms.

The Mommy Tech zone should have more and bigger sponsors, considering moms' purchasing power. Marketers are missing a big opportunity. iVillage, a robotic vacuum and high-tech Brother sewing machines were present, along with a number of other, smaller companies and products. While the sewing machine was very cool, women certainly buy much more than sewing machines and vacuums.

With women and moms representing such a huge opportunity for the consumer electronics category, I hope that CES soon evolves to include the whole family.

Kelley Skoloda is a partner and global brand marketing practice director at Ketchum, as well as author of Too Busy to Shop: Marketing to Multi-Minding Women.

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